There’s nothing quite like binging in the time of self isolation.
There are many recent films I have yet to see (and intend on seeing), but during the days of quarantine, I find myself wanting to travel down memory lane to films I enjoyed before.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
Even though I know exactly where the film is going to go, being able to relive all of those favorite moments makes it worthwhile.
One of those films was the (then) fresh spin on the Cinderella fairy tale, “Ever After.” Starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Houston and Dougray Scott, the movie begins with the brothers Grimm traveling to a huge estate to speak with a woman about their version of Cinderella. What they find is that they are talking to the descendant of said fabled woman, who’s real name was Danielle de Barbarac (Barrymore).
The film follows the general theme of the Cinderella we all know (er, not the Charles Perrault version so much as the 1950 Disney classic): a young girl is orphaned and left in the care of her cruel stepmother. Except in this film, instead of two cruel step sisters, she ends up with one, while the other is kinder and more of an ally.
Danielle is happy despite her situation, forced to be a servant in her own home, and without the love of the one woman who was meant to be her mother. Danielle has spirit, wit, and will. By accident, she stumbles into the prince not once, but twice. Posing as a courtier, she is able to beguile him with her unorthodox view of the world, thus opening his heart to her.
The film includes interesting additions, such as a male neighbor/BFF who helps Danielle brush up on her fighting skills (this is proven quite useful several times within the film), Leonardo DaVinci, who’s able to bring friendship and creative inventions (and a placeholder for the fairy godmother), and the servants, who serve as Danielle’s friends and general respite from her cruel home environment (and are stand ins for the talking mice of the cartoon).
Though Barrymore’s English accent leaves something to be desired (and the film is meant to be taking place in France), she is able to bring an engaging charm to the screen. No matter what she does, you can’t help yourself from rooting for her. Released in 1998, this film was released in the true era of America’s sweethearts. Though Drew has never been labeled as such next to Roberts, Bullock or Witherspoon, looking at her body of work during this period, that was definitely a mistake.
She and Dougray Scott make for an enticing pair, making their union together all the more sweeter at the film’s end. Which, isn’t technically a spoiler, as we all know Cinderella is able to live happily ever after in the end.
What this film has in common with the Disney original is that, both Cinderella and Danielle are able to save themselves ultimately, and find a way to happiness out of the hell of their respective home lives.